Management system

The management system described below is optional: experiments can be run one by one using artiq_run, and the controllers can run stand-alone (without a controller manager). For their very first steps with ARTIQ or in simple or particular cases, users do not need to deploy the management system.



The master is responsible for managing the parameter and device databases, the experiment repository, scheduling and running experiments, archiving results, and distributing real-time results.

The master is a headless component, and one or several clients (command-line or GUI) use the network to interact with it.

Controller manager

Controller managers are responsible for running and stopping controllers on a machine. There is one controller manager per network node that runs controllers.

A controller manager connects to the master and uses the device database to determine what controllers need to be run. Changes in the device database are tracked by the manager and controllers are started and stopped accordingly.

Controller managers use the local network address of the connection to the master to filter the device database and run only those controllers that are allocated to the current node. Hostname resolution is supported.


With some network setups, the current machine’s hostname without the domain name resolves to a localhost address ( or even If you wish to use controllers across a network, make sure that the hostname you provide resolves to an IP address visible on the network (e.g. try providing the full hostname including the domain name).

Command-line client

The command-line client connects to the master and permits modification and monitoring of the databases, monitoring the experiment schedule and log, and submitting experiments.


The dashboard connects to the master and is the main way of interacting with it. The main features of the dashboard are scheduling of experiments, setting of their arguments, examining the schedule, displaying real-time results, and debugging TTL and DDS channels in real time.

Experiment scheduling


To use hardware resources more efficiently, potentially compute-intensive pre-computation and analysis phases of other experiments is executed in parallel with the body of the current experiment that accesses the hardware.

Experiments are divided into three phases that are programmed by the user:

  1. The preparation stage, that pre-fetches and pre-computes any data that necessary to run the experiment. Users may implement this stage by overloading the prepare method. It is not permitted to access hardware in this stage, as doing so may conflict with other experiments using the same devices.
  2. The running stage, that corresponds to the body of the experiment, and typically accesses hardware. Users must implement this stage and overload the run method.
  3. The analysis stage, where raw results collected in the running stage are post-processed and may lead to updates of the parameter database. This stage may be implemented by overloading the analyze method.


Only the run method implementation is mandatory; if the experiment does not fit into the pipelined scheduling model, it can leave one or both of the other methods empty (which is the default).

The three phases of several experiments are then executed in a pipelined manner by the scheduler in the ARTIQ master: experiment A executes its preparation stage, then experiment A executes its running stage while experiment B executes its preparation stage, and so on.

Priorities and timed runs

When determining what experiment to begin executing next (i.e. entering the preparation stage), the scheduling looks at the following factors, by decreasing order of precedence:

  1. Experiments may be scheduled with a due date. If there is one and it is not reached yet, the experiment is not eligible for preparation.
  2. The integer priority value specified by the user.
  3. The due date itself. The earlier the due date, the earlier the experiment is scheduled.
  4. The run identifier (RID), an integer that is incremented at each experiment submission. This ensures that, all other things being equal, experiments are scheduled in the same order as they are submitted.


In the run stage, an experiment may yield to the scheduler by calling the pause() method of the scheduler. If there are other experiments with higher priority (e.g. a high-priority timed experiment has reached its due date), they are preemptively executed, and then pause() returns. Otherwise, pause() returns immediately. To check whether pause() would in fact not return immediately, use artiq.master.scheduler.Scheduler.check_pause().

The experiment must place the hardware in a safe state and disconnect from the core device (typically, by using self.core.comm.close()) before calling pause.

Accessing the pause and check_pause methods is done through a virtual device called scheduler that is accessible to all experiments. The scheduler virtual device is requested like regular devices using get_device or attr_device.

check_pause can be called (via RPC) from a kernel, but pause must not.

Multiple pipelines

Multiple pipelines can operate in parallel inside the same master. It is the responsibility of the user to ensure that experiments scheduled in one pipeline will never conflict with those of another pipeline over resources (e.g. same devices).

Pipelines are identified by their name, and are automatically created (when an experiment is scheduled with a pipeline name that does not exist) and destroyed (when it runs empty).

Git integration

The master may use a Git repository for the storage of experiment source code. Using Git has many advantages. For example, each result file (HDF5) contains the commit ID corresponding to the exact source code that produced it, which helps reproducibility.

Even though the master also supports non-bare repositories, it is recommended to use a bare repository so that it can easily support push transactions from clients. Create it with e.g.:

$ mkdir experiments
$ cd experiments
$ git init --bare

You want Git to notify the master every time the repository is pushed to (updated), so that it is rescanned for experiments and e.g. the GUI controls and the experiment list are updated.

Create a file named post-receive in the hooks folder (this folder has been created by the git command), containing the following:

artiq_client scan-repository

Then set the execution permission on it:

$ chmod 755 hooks/post-receive

You may now run the master with the Git support enabled:

$ artiq_master -g -r /path_to/experiments

Push commits containing experiments to the bare repository using e.g. Git over SSH, and the new experiments should automatically appear in the dashboard.


If you plan to run the ARTIQ system entirely on a single machine, you may also consider using a non-bare repository and the post-commit hook to trigger repository scans every time you commit changes (locally). The ARTIQ master never uses the repository’s working directory, but only what is committed. More precisely, when scanning the repository, it fetches the last (atomically) completed commit at that time of repository scan and checks it out in a temporary folder. This commit ID is used by default when subsequently submitting experiments. There is one temporary folder by commit ID currently referenced in the system, so concurrently running experiments from different repository revisions is fully supported by the master.

The dashboard always runs experiments from the repository. The command-line client, by default, runs experiment from the raw filesystem (which is useful for iterating rapidly without creating many disorganized commits). If you want to use the repository instead, simply pass the -R option.

Scheduler API reference

The scheduler is exposed to the experiments via a virtual device called scheduler. It can be requested like any regular device, and then the methods below can be called on the returned object.

The scheduler virtual device also contains the attributes rid, pipeline_name, priority and expid that contain the corresponding information about the current run.

class artiq.master.scheduler.Scheduler(ridc, worker_handlers, experiment_db)[source]

Returns True if there is a condition that could make pause not return immediately (termination requested or higher priority run).

The typical purpose of this function is to check from a kernel whether returning control to the host and pausing would have an effect, in order to avoid the cost of switching kernels in the common case where pause does nothing.

This function does not have side effects, and does not have to be followed by a call to pause.


Kills the run with the specified RID.


Returns a dictionary containing information about the runs currently tracked by the scheduler.


Requests graceful termination of the run with the specified RID.

submit(pipeline_name, expid, priority, due_date, flush)[source]

Submits a new run.

Front-end tool reference

ARTIQ master

usage: artiq_master [-h] [--bind BIND] [--no-localhost-bind]
                    [--port-notify PORT_NOTIFY] [--port-control PORT_CONTROL]
                    [--port-logging PORT_LOGGING]
                    [--port-broadcast PORT_BROADCAST] [--device-db DEVICE_DB]
                    [--dataset-db DATASET_DB] [-g] [-r REPOSITORY] [-v] [-q]
                    [--log-file LOG_FILE] [--log-max-size LOG_MAX_SIZE]
                    [--log-backup-count LOG_BACKUP_COUNT]
--bind=[] additional hostname or IP addresse to bind to; use ‘*’ to bind to all interfaces (default: %(default)s)
 do not implicitly also bind to localhost addresses
 TCP port to listen on for notifications connections (default: 3250)
 TCP port to listen on for control connections (default: 3251)
 TCP port to listen on for remote logging connections (default: 1066)
 TCP port to listen on for broadcasts connections (default: 1067)
 device database file (default: ‘%(default)s’)
 dataset file (default: ‘%(default)s’)
-g=False, --git=False
 use the Git repository backend
-r=repository, --repository=repository
 path to the repository (default: ‘%(default)s’)
-v=0, --verbose=0
 increase logging level of the master process
-q=0, --quiet=0
 decrease logging level of the master process
--log-file= store logs in rotated files; set the base filename
 maximum size of each log file in KiB (default: %(default)d)
 number of old log files to keep (.<n> is added to the base filename (default: %(default)d)

ARTIQ controller manager

usage: artiq_ctlmgr [-h] [-v] [-q] [-s SERVER] [--port-notify PORT_NOTIFY]
                    [--port-logging PORT_LOGGING]
                    [--retry-master RETRY_MASTER] [--bind BIND]
                    [--no-localhost-bind] [--port-control PORT_CONTROL]
-v=0, --verbose=0
 increase logging level of the manager process
-q=0, --quiet=0
 decrease logging level of the manager process
-s=::1, --server=::1
 hostname or IP of the master to connect to
 TCP port to connect to for notifications
 TCP port to connect to for logging
 retry timer for reconnecting to master
--bind=[] additional hostname or IP addresse to bind to; use ‘*’ to bind to all interfaces (default: %(default)s)
 do not implicitly also bind to localhost addresses
 TCP port to listen on for control connections (default: 3249)

ARTIQ CLI client

usage: artiq_client [-h] [-s SERVER] [--port PORT]
-s=::1, --server=::1
 hostname or IP of the master to connect to
--port TCP port to use to connect to the master

submit an experiment

usage: artiq_client submit [-h] [-p PIPELINE] [-P PRIORITY] [-t TIMED] [-f]
                           [-R] [-r REVISION] [-c CLASS_NAME] [-v] [-q]
                           FILE [ARGUMENTS [ARGUMENTS ...]]
Positional arguments:
file file containing the experiment to run
arguments run arguments
-p=main, --pipeline=main
 pipeline to run the experiment in (default: %(default)s)
-P=0, --priority=0
 priority (higher value means sooner scheduling, default: %(default)s)
-t, --timed set a due date for the experiment
-f=False, --flush=False
 flush the pipeline before preparing the experiment
-R=False, --repository=False
 use the experiment repository
-r, --revision use a specific repository revision (defaults to head, ignored without -R)
-c, --class-name
 name of the class to run
-v=0, --verbose=0
 increase logging level of the experiment
-q=0, --quiet=0
 decrease logging level of the experiment

delete an experiment from the schedule

usage: artiq_client delete [-h] [-g] RID
Positional arguments:
rid run identifier (RID)
-g=False request graceful termination

add or modify a dataset

usage: artiq_client set-dataset [-h] [-p] [-n] NAME VALUE
Positional arguments:
name name of the dataset
value value in PYON format
-p=False, --persist=False
 make the dataset persistent
-n=False, --no-persist=False
 make the dataset non-persistent

delete a dataset

usage: artiq_client del-dataset [-h] name
Positional arguments:
name name of the dataset

show schedule, log, devices or datasets

usage: artiq_client show [-h] WHAT
Positional arguments:
what select object to show: schedule/log/devices/datasets

trigger a device database (re)scan

usage: artiq_client scan-devices [-h]

trigger a repository (re)scan

usage: artiq_client scan-repository [-h] [--async] [REVISION]
Positional arguments:
revision use a specific repository revision (defaults to head)
--async=False trigger scan and return immediately

list a directory on the master

usage: artiq_client ls [-h] [directory]
Positional arguments:
directory Undocumented

ARTIQ Dashboard

usage: artiq_dashboard [-h] [-s SERVER] [--port-notify PORT_NOTIFY]
                       [--port-control PORT_CONTROL]
                       [--port-broadcast PORT_BROADCAST] [--db-file DB_FILE]
                       [-v] [-q]
-s=::1, --server=::1
 hostname or IP of the master to connect to
 TCP port to connect to for notifications
 TCP port to connect to for control
 TCP port to connect to for broadcasts
 database file for local GUI settings (default: %(default)s)
-v=0, --verbose=0
 increase logging level
-q=0, --quiet=0
 decrease logging level